Have you had unprotected sex and now you notice a strange discomfort in your body? Do you think you have been the target of a venereal disease and you want to make sure what is wrong with you? Are you worried that you may have contracted an infection and want to know what the next steps are?
A venereal disease, also known as an STD (sexually transmitted disease), is contracted and transmitted through sexual contact.
There are certain microorganisms that cause them by surviving on the skin or mucous membranes for a time, although it can also be spread through semen, vaginal secretions or through blood and can lead to more serious complications, such as contraction of other venereal diseases or promote appearance of vaginal infections.
What are the most common venereal diseases?
Some of the most popular and devastating venereal diseases in recent times, affecting thousands of people throughout the world, are the following:
Since the genital areas are humid and hot, this creates an optimal environment for bacteria, viruses and fungi to grow and proliferate, which is why there are a large number of diseases that are transmitted in this way.
How do I know if I have a venereal disease?
If you have sex, whether through oral, anal or vaginal contact, you should know that at any time you could be the victim of a sexually transmitted disease.
It does not matter your sexual orientation or your marital status. We are all vulnerable to these types of diseases.
Thinking or wishing that your partner does not have any disease is not real protection. You need to know to be sure. And although condoms are highly effective in reducing the risk of some venereal diseases, the truth is that there is no totally foolproof method.
The symptoms of venereal diseases are not always obvious, so the best option before any suspicion of being infected is always to visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Some sexually transmitted diseases are easy and quick to treat, but there are others that require more complex and advanced treatment.
If you suspect that you may have been infected by any of these diseases, in addition to bringing it to the attention of your partner, an excellent idea is to go to your medical center for a diagnosis and that, in case of confirming an infection, a doctor can prescribe the best treatment for you.
Remember that an untreated STD can increase your risk of getting another STD, such as HIV. This occurs because sexually transmitted diseases can stimulate the immune response in the genital area, which increases the chances of a new transmission.
What are the most popular venereal diseases?
There is a wide variety of STDs that can affect everyone with different signs, symptoms, and treatments. In this list you will find information about each disease, as well as a description of the symptoms, signs and treatments for the most common sexually transmitted infections of today.
AIDS / HIV
Even though it is an incurable disease, AIDS treatment focuses on keeping HIV levels balanced.
The therapy is mainly based on an antiviral treatment popularly known as a "cocktail."
There are large discrepancies as to when it is best to start treatment. Some doctors consider it essential to treat the virus as soon as possible in order to minimize its effects, although there are other doctors who recommend waiting until the right moment when the drugs are more likely to offer the expected results. In any case, only a doctor can help you start the best treatment in case of being infected by this virus.
Short-term symptoms of HIV
- Throat pain
- Swollen lymph glands
As the virus continues to multiply and destroy immune cells, you may experience infections or chronic symptoms and signs such as:
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Cough and shortness of breath
Long-term symptoms of HIV
- Persistent and unexplained tiredness
- Night sweats
- Chills or fever for several weeks
- Chronic diarrhea
- Persistent headache
- Unusual infections
Chlamydia and gonorrhea
These venereal diseases that are fought with antibiotics.
Treatment for chlamydia and gonorrhea should be started immediately after detecting any of these conditions, even if the patient does not have any symptoms.
If the disease is confirmed, it is also important to communicate about the situation to the person or persons with whom you have or are having sexual intercourse so that they can check their health status and, if they are infected, also be able to be treated as soon as possible.
Gonorrhea can sometimes become resistant to certain antibiotics, so different treatments may need to be tried before a full recovery is achieved.
Unsatisfactory treatment can have very negative consequences, such as permanent damage to the reproductive organs or the inability to have children.
- Pain when urinating
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Vaginal discharge in women
- Discharge from the penis of men
- Pain when having sex in women
- Bleeding between periods in women
- Testicle pain in man
- Thick or bleeding discharge from the penis or vagina
- Pain or burning when urinating
- Excessive bleeding during menstruation or bleeding between periods
- Pain and swelling of testicles
- Anal itching
Doctors often use penicillin to treat syphilis.
A timely treatment helps prevent the proliferation of syphilis inside you, which could damage other organs of your body.
Normally, this disease usually presents in four phases: primary, secondary, latent and tertiary. There is also a condition known as congenital syphilis, which occurs when a woman transmits the disease to her unborn fetus.
1. Primary syphilis
- Occurs between 10 days and 3 months after exposure
- Small ulcer on the part of the body where the disease was transmitted. Usually on the genitals, rectum, tongue, or lips
2. Secondary syphilis
- Red or brown rashes anywhere on the body, including hands and feet
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Fatigue and general ill feeling
3. Latent syphilis
It is characterized by the fact that some people do not present any symptoms throughout this phase. They may never return, but there is also the possibility that they will return, leading to the tertiary phase of the disease.
4. Tertiary syphilis
Without treatment, syphilis bacteria spread and severely attack internal organs, leading to death years after the infection began.
Some signs and symptoms are:
- Lack of coordination
At this level, syphilis begins to attack the nervous system. It may not produce any symptoms or signs, or it may cause:
- Behavior changes
- Movement problems
The virus remains in the body of those who ever have genital herpes for life.
After its first appearance, genital herpes can appear several times a year, although each time it will do so with less intensity.
A doctor will recommend antiviral medications that will reduce the duration and severity of their onset considerably.
There is also suppressive therapy, which consists of a treatment where the patient takes medicines daily with the intention of avoiding a new outbreak.
Symptoms of genital herpes
- Small, red pimples in the form of blisters (vesicles) or open sores (ulcers) in the genital, anal and surrounding areas
- Pain or itching around the genital area, buttocks, and inner thighs
Genital warts do not have a specific treatment, since most tend to disappear on their own after time.
However, even if the warts disappear, the virus remains inside the body, so it is still possible to transmit it to other people through sexual intercourse.
There are different techniques to deal with warts, ranging from freezing them, to applying a medicine to the affected area. If nothing works, it may be necessary to go through a surgical procedure to remove them.
Symptoms of genital warts
- Small flesh-colored or gray bumps in the genital area
- Cauliflower-shaped warts together
- Itching and discomfort in the genital area
- Sexual intercourse with bleeding
Treatment for hepatitis B focuses on preventing the spread of the virus that mainly attacks the liver of the affected person.
There are different medications to combat this disease, but only a doctor can tell you exactly what you need.
In the most serious cases of hepatitis B where the liver is severely damaged, a transplant of this organ is necessary.
Symptoms of Hepatitis B
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal pain or discomfort, especially in the liver area, just below the right lung
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Muscle or joint pain
- Yellowish skin and whites of the eyes
How to prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
Condoms can be of great help to prevent a large number of STDs, however you should be aware that it is not an effective 100 % method.
Sometimes venereal diseases can affect areas that the condom cannot cover during sexual activity. Prevention becomes even more difficult, since many people do not show specific signs or symptoms that make them think they may have been infected.
The only way to avoid infection with a sexually transmitted disease is through sexual abstinence. So, by reducing the number of partners and / or sexual encounters, we also reduce the risk of exposing ourselves to infections.
A timely diagnosis and proper recognition of infections is also very useful to avoid expansion or relapse to future infections.